The Greek government, finally throwing off the burden of strict economic regulation, is going to resume the demanding reparations from Germany for the damage caused during the Second world war. The amount of reparations, according to Athens, comes to 279 billion euros. This requirement may complicate the already strained relations between the two countries.
The President of Greece Prokopis Pavlopoulos, raise the issue with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier this week during a meeting in Athens. This was confirmed in conversation with Euronews Chairman of the parliamentary Committee of Greece for the reparations Triantafillos Metafiles.
Why the Greeks are demanding compensation?
Greece claims on the one hand relate to the human toll, and on the other financial losses as a result of occupation. First, require reparations for war crimes committed by Germany and Italy in 1941-1944 during these years in Greece, entire villages were destroyed, tens of thousands of people died from hunger, and more than 70,000 Greek Jews were deported, disappeared in the death camps.
Second, the requirements apply to direct and indirect financial losses suffered by Greece. By the time of the withdrawal Hitler coalition from the country, and its economy and infrastructure was in ruins.
The state Treasury was also plundered, in spite of the Hague Convention of 1907, which provided that States the occupiers are required to pay the cost of maintaining their troops. During the war Greece had also paid 476 million Reichsmarks in the framework of the forced loan, which was then used to Finance the Nazi campaign in North Africa.
As agreed after the war?
After the defeat of the Nazi coalition reparations to countries affected by the war, was described by the Paris peace Treaty of 1946. Responsibility for reparations rests on the shoulders of the governments of the countries participating in the coalition.
Greece has received $ 105 million from Italy (which is slightly more than the amount of compensation paid to the Soviet Union) and 45 million dollars from Bulgaria. Germany, divided after the war into East and West part, and never signed a peace Treaty with Greece – until the reunification in 1990.
However, the Treaty of Paris had determined that Greece should get 2.7% of the total cash compensation, which undertook to pay Germany and 4.35 percent from reparations of infrastructure (including transport vessels and other forms of compensation). In fact, this amounted to 7.1 million USD in prices of 1938. It was about half that demanded Greece.
In February 1953, was signed another agreement known as the London agreement. It was completely painted lost the war debts of Germany in favour of the winners.
The debt that was hanging on Germany even before the war was reduced by approximately 50%, and the time allowed West Germany to maturity extended to 30 years. As for actual military duty, he was described separately for each country: generally, the agreements provide for a reduction of 50% (in connection with the division of the country into West Germany and the GDR), but there were exceptions. So, the amount of compensation for the “moral duty” of Germany against Israel is not subject to reduction.
Since 1953, West Germany has concluded a number of agreements with certain countries on payment of additional reparations. In 1960, Germany has agreed with Greece on the payment of 115 million German marks to Greek citizens who have been directly affected by Nazi occupation.
In total, according to Reuters, Germany has paid about 72 billion euros of war reparations.
Why Greece demands reparations now?
The question of reparations, re-emerged in 2010 when Greece began the economic recession, and the country’s lenders, among which were Germany, demanded that the government make tough reforms in the framework of the program of economic salvation.
Parliamentary report on this topic was published in August 2016, but postponed to a later date due to the eight-year program of economic regulation, under which Greece received financial assistance in the amount of 240 billion euros. As pointed out by some experts, it is the expectation of this sum was the cause of a two-year pause in the consideration of the question of reparations.
In August 2018 Greece successfully completed the IMF program for economic recovery. After that, the President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras declared intention of Greece to reopen the question of reparations.
“Compensation from Germany, our historical duty,” said Tsipras during his visit in September to the island of Crete, where he visited the memorial to the victims of the village of Kandanos, destroyed in 1941 which killed 180 people.
Where did the amount of 279 billion euros?
In April 2015 the Deputy Minister of Finance of Greece Dimitris Mardas said that, in accordance with the Main accounting Department of the country, Germany must pay Greece reparations 278,7 billion euros.
He also urged the Germans to pay the forced loan: payment in today’s equivalent of 10.3 billion euros.
The Parliament of Greece, according to German newspaper Der Spiegel in November to begin consideration of a parliamentary report in 2016.
Then the government will have to discuss their business abroad, including in Germany, the European Union and the United Nations.
Finally, Greece will demand that Germany entered into negotiations.
What is Germany’s position?
Germany has repeatedly rejected the demands of Greece, stating that all commitments already made, including in view of paying 115 million deutschmarks in 1960.
Berlin also claims that 70 years after the end of the war any such claims long ago “lost his base”.
But, according to Der Spiegel, Greece in the end may present their claims against Germany in the International Court of justice in the Hague.